AJP for nothing:
Not much to say, except "addition by subtraction" and give the kids a chance to play.
Peavy for Edwin Escobar & Heath Hembree: Excellent deal.
Hembree was 6th best Giants' prospect last year and Escobar was the 10th best. Here are some write-ups from MLB.com:
Hembree: He had a huge 2011 season that put him firmly on the "future closers" map and despite the hiccup in Fresno, he still should be there. He'll throw his power sinking fastball up to 97 mph and back it up with a hard slider that has cutter-like action. He'll mix in an occasional changeup for a different look, though it's not really an effective part of his arsenal.
Escobar: This solid and stocky southpaw had spent a little time in full-season ball in 2011, then hit it full-time in 2012, finishing fourth in the organization in ERA and third in WHIP. He'll run his fastball up to 94 mph with quick arm action, though he does throw across his body. He can sink and cut his fastball and throws an effective sinking changeup. His wide three-quarters curve has the chance to be an average pitch and shows occasional sharp bite. He understands how to mix his pitches well for a young hurler, which should bode well as he moves up the ladder.
Doubront for PTBNL (after Rule 5 deadline): Unknown.
The fact that we get a player after the rule 5 deadline should help us with a roster crunch.
Lester, Gomes & Cash for Yoenis Cespedes and a draft pick: Looks bad on the surface. Cespedes can become a free agent after 2015 with no chance for a comp pick. I expected more. I expected longer term players.
Cespedes turns 29 this October. His .318 career OBP is not good, and it's been under .303 for the last 2 years. His .470 SLG% is decent. He's on pace for hitting over 23 Hrs for 3 straight years. I get the argument that Nava is better vs RHPs and Gomes is better vs LHPs, but Cespedes takes up just one roster spot and has the potential to do better than those two as a platoon. He's also a better fielder than both.
Competitive Balance Draft Pick: Nice to have, but I expected more.
Lackey, Litrell, and Cash for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly: Good deal. I was one who believed Lackey would play for just $500K next year, but I'm glad I don't need to find out. Litrell was not likely to be a high impact ML player.
Allen Craig: He just turned 30 and is under team control through 2018. His luxury tax salary counts as only $6.2M. His career UZR/150 numbers show he is about an average OF'er and 1Bman. His career .803 OPS is very good (.343 OBP/.460 SLG), but it has fallen steadily since 2011: .917>.876>.830>.638.
Joe Kelly just turned 26 and has not even reached arb yet. He has 3 arb years beginning in 2016. He has a 3.25 ERA in over 266 IP since coming up to the bigs in 2012. His 4.37 ERA this year in just 35 IP should not be held aginst him. This guy has very good upside potential. It's the type of player I hoped we'd be picking up at the deadline.
Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez: Hard to tell how this trade will work out, but getting nothing for Miller after this year seems worse than any prospect gained, and Rodrigues was rated highly before the season began.
Eduardo Rodriguez: He is 21 and has struggled since being called up to AA last year, but he was rated the 85th best prospect in MLB in 2013. Here is what MLB.com had to say about him:
It's amazing what growth and maturity can do for a young player. Rodriguez looked like a finesse lefty when he started out his pro career. The Venezuelan's stuff was much better during his 2012 full-season debut, with a tailing fastball that should be above-average. His breaking ball is still a bit inconsistent, but it shows occasional sharp bite and his changeup has improved some as well. He's lean and lanky with some deception to his delivery. He generally throws strikes and if he can keep developing on this path, he has a future as a big league starter.
Drew for Kelly Johnson: this deal makes zero sense to me, except that it saves us money. Both are FAs after this year, so we basically got nothing for Drew, except some salary relief.
Overall, we picked up:
Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar, Eduardo Rodriguez, a PTBNL (from the Cubs), and a 2015 Comp Pick from the A's.
We gave up nobody under team control beyond this year, except 1 year of Lackey, 3 arb years of Doubront, and several years of control for Litrell.
I seriously doubt we sign any of these players we traded this winter, but we can sign players like Max Scherzer, Jamie Shields, Nelson Cruz, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Michael Cuddyer or others. We also have a huge stockpile of prospects, some of which can be packaged for 1 or 2 high impact players.
That remains to be seen, but certainly our long term future looks brighter after these trades, if we assume none of these guys (excepta Lackey, Doubront & Litrell) were coming back next year had they not been traded. To me, arguing the merits of not extending Lester, Miller or others is a separate debate, although I can certainly understand those who feel like this cannot be separated from today's actions.
Finally, some here doubted so many deals could be orchestrated in such a short time. I'm sure Ben & Co. have been run ragged by the today, but we basically did what needed to be done, and set ourselves up for some blockbuster signings and deals this upcoming winter.
I'll update the luxury budget outlook and 40 man roster issues over the next few days.
I welcome your opinions and comments.